“It is well we should recognise that the business of education is with us all our lives, that we must always go on increasing our knowledge…As for that aesthetic ‘appetency’ (to use Coleridge’s word) upon which so many of the gentle pleasures of life depend, it is open to many disasters: it dies of inanition when beauty is not duly presented to it, beauty in words, in pictures and music, in tree and flower and sky.
The function of the sense of beauty is to open a paradise of pleasure for us; but what if we grow up admiring the wrong things, or, what is morally worse, arrogant in the belief that it is only we and our kind who are able to appreciate and distinguish beauty?It is no small part of education to have seen much beauty, to recognize it when we see it, and to keep ourselves humble in its presence.” ~ Charlotte Mason (full text at Ambleside Online, emphasis added)
Beauty in Homeschooling
Beauty is not something we tend to think of as a subject in school. But cultivating a love of beauty, of truly wonderful things, is a gift we can help our children develop. There is a sacredness found amongst lovely things, be it music, art, poetry, or even the intricacies of the language of mathematics. It not only provides us with something to admire, it inspires our own creative natures.
We were created by a Creator who delights in beauty. He created us to worship, and part of that worship is using our own gifts to create. Appreciating the beauty of both God’s Creation and the creations of His children is time well spent.
Here are a few of our favorite methods and resources for cultivating a love of beautiful things in our homeschool.
Cultivate a Love of Art
Art is a huge part of our homeschool. We love looking at art of all varieties and we love creating art. Mr. T has been painting for many years while Mr. F prefers to draw. Both love creating with clay. I dabble in painting, remaking furniture, fabric creations, and Bible journaling is my current love. Mr. J is a technical director for a theatre, so I guess you could say we are a family of creatives.
For art study and art creation, these are the resources we use most:
Mixed Media Courses from Flourish. These courses are video based, you go at your own pace, they are able to be used by children with multiple skill levels, and the cost is for a lifetime membership to that class. These are a great value and the Mixing with the Masters Course is amazing. We just started it and I think it may be our new favorite.
Picture Study Portfolios from Simply Charlotte Mason. These are what we use for our weekly artist studies. They are so well made and the care taken to select the pieces shows. Even Mr. F, newly turned 4, will ponder and notice details during our art studies.
Craftsy. Craftsy classes cover a multitude of art styles and levels. These work beautifully online and through the app on iPads for older students (and moms). I’ve got a children’s book illustration class I just snagged during the last sale I can’t wait to get going on!
Your local book store’s bargain book area. We’ve picked up so many wonderful art books this way, and for a fraction of the cost.
Cultivate a Love of Music
Music often expresses what words cannot. Emotions and audio pictures are painted in nuances and melodies. Mr. T takes piano online, and I play as well. We also have electronic drums, a child sized guitar, violin, table harp, tin whistles, and two lovely harmonicas. Oh, and ear plugs 😉 Having instruments in your home, just the basic rhythm shakers and a harmonica or tin whistle will allow your children to explore making their own music.
Studying music is a wonderful way to ease into your school day. We use biographies, hymns, CDs, and our favorite music appreciation resource is SQUILT, it is so incredibly easy to use. Music is an integral part of our home and we use too many resources to list, so here are a very few of our top rated musical must-haves:
- The Magic Flute (The Met Opera)
- SQUILT (Super Quiet Uninterrupted Listening Time) This covers composers and pieces. It is an extremely well-done and well-linked study so you don’t have to go hunting down pieces yourself. It’s also perfect for musically-challenged parents.
- Peter and the Wolf Maestro Classics This version teaches about the orchestra, music, story telling with sounds, and more.
- Melissa & Doug Band in a Box
Cultivate a Love of Poetry
Poetry is something many people think of with a bit of dread. Recalling some of the dry or dull pieces you may have suffered through in school, you might be hesitant to put your own child through that. I assure you, it does not have to be so!
Memorization and recitation are both wonderful for developing your child’s brain, vocabulary, memory, and appreciation for different styles of writing. Studying poetry is also a good way to sneak in biographies of writers. We currently have The Bard of Avon in our morning basket, so we will be including some Shakespeare sonnets in the next few weeks.
We have a few books that I truly believe every homeschool should have.
- A Child’s Book of Poems
- When We Were Very Young
- A Child’s Garden of Verses
- Kooky Crumbs (we all love these delightful and silly rhymes, they are short and funny!)
Cultivate a Love of Nature
Nature is such a wild and wonderful experience. We are journaling our first meteor shower into our journal of firsts this week. I cannot explain the awe and amazement of watching long-since-past comet bits pepper the night sky with streaks of blazing light alongside a 4 and 6 year old who have never observed such wonders before.
Seeing nature, touching, smelling, and tasting (when safe) are fun ways to explore and show our children the beauty that is all around us. Even in cities, there are parks, museums, and birds who find a way to thrive. There is always something to explore!
For nature study, our most loved resources are:
Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You
The Burgess Bird Book for Children
Watercolor pencils for nature journaling entries
Identiflyer Lyric bird call identifier
Usborne Beginner Readers about animals, birds, and more
Enter to Win a Cultivate Beauty in Your Homeschool Basket
I’m more excited about this gift basket than all the others we’ve ever done! Here’s why:
- Celebrate Summer Mixed Media Art Course ($60 value) This amazing course has 20 lessons, all of which can be done at your own pace. They are fun and child friendly. Mr. T is a huge fan of Mrs. Alisha, the art teacher.
- Hands-On History Activity Paks: Composers ($18.95 value) from Homeschool in the Woods. We love the paks from this delightful homeschool family. The composer pak will introduce your scholars to the wonders of music through the ages and give you an awesome music appreciation curriculum to use this year!
- Give Your Child the World ($16.99 value) This resource is remarkable. “Give Your Child the World includes more than 600 children’s book recommendations from around the world. Reading lists are organized by region, country, and age range (ages 4-12). Each listing includes a brief description of the book, its themes, and any content of which parents should be aware.” It should be on every homeschool resource list.
- Royal & Langnickel Watercolor Pencil Tin ($6.25 value) We love using watercolor pencils for our nature journals and for our mixed media work. The boys control them much easier than traditional watercolors.
- Mod Podge Matte Finish ($7.47 value) You’ll need some for your Mixed Media class.
- Bernstein Favorites: Children’s Classics ($6.99 value) This CD contains Carnival of the Animals, Peter & the Wolf, and The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. A wonderful compilation to help your young listeners develop an appreciation for beautiful music.
- Cultivate Mug ($16.30 value) from our Zazzle shoppe. A reminder throughout your day to cultivate what matters.
- Sampler pack of Blooming with Joy tea to enjoy in your new mug. They are custom designed artisanal teas from a lovely homeschool mom. You can read more about how lovely they are here.
The giveaway is closed.
52 homeschool bloggers have joined together to provide one massive back-to-homeschool basket giveaway! Take a peek around these 52 sites and enter to win as many baskets as you like. Each blogger is conducting her own giveaway, so you never knowÖyou may end up winning more than one! All giveaways will be live on Monday, August 15.
This is a lovely post 😀 I was hoping, however to glean some ideas on how to cultivate beauty in the home, in the midst of all the pencils, clutter, socks, half finished projects, did I mention socks? I have seen some homeschool moms do the whole “afternoon tea” type things complete with tablecloths, good dishes and the like. How do you include elements of this with rambuncious boys (I have all boys currently, waiting to see if #6 is a girl!), my good dishes in boxes b/c I have no hutch and just the extra “fuss and bother”? ANy feedback?
Has a winner been announced for this?
Sorry, I just saw your reply from earlier. Thanks!
Sally D says
Has the winner been announced?
Hi, Sally! The winner has been selected but hasn’t responded yet. If I don’t hear back within 24 hours I will have to select another winner. I don’t usually announce it on the widget until I hear back 🙂 Thank you!
Becca W says
Can’t believe I missed it 🙁 Congratulations, Amanda D!
My family loves enjoying nature. It can be biking, gardening or simply feeding the chickens. Just walking our property and enjoying the beautiful creations all around us is so inspiring.
Connie Johnson says
This is a poem that made an impact on me as a young person as I did the family dishes and I remember it to this day…some 45+ years later:
Thank God For Dirty Dishes
Thank God for dirty dishes;
They have a tale to tell.
While others may go hungry,
We’re eating very well
With home, health, and happiness,
I shouldn’t want to fuss;
By the stack of evidence,
God’s been very good to us.
Lynne B says
Impressionist art has been my favorite since childhood. I am excited that my children are now interested in learning more about it and can often name the artists better than I can.
I love piano and harp music, impressionist art, poetry by Robert Louis Stevenson and I love being outside on a crisp fall day. Thanks for the giveaway!
Thanks for sharing. We are starting poetry in our homeschool co-op this year.
Chelsea R says
Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh is one of most favorite pieces of art. It’s absolutely beautiful.
Deirdre Fisher says
My family and I really love all kinds of music. It is a central part of our day.
Lisa T. says
Photography of bodies of water, so relaxing.
Lacey C says
We are starting homeschool this year and I am so excited to teach the changing of trees during the seasons.
Maureen Ruble says
My favorite art is by James Audubon. It is extraordinary.
We live on the ocean. I love it
Cindy B says
“The road less traveled” by Robert Frost is probably my favorite poem (not positive that’s the right title). 🙂
Right now I love Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem “Bed in Summer”. Having little ones who don’t understand why they have to go to bed when the sun is up always makes me think of this fun poem and smile.
emily clair says
Starry Night. I could look at that forever. I got a chance to see it when I was younger. Even though it was smaller than I imagined I ended up loving it even more.
We love just being outside.
Julie A says
I love anything by Robert Frost.
Pamela D says
I can sit and watch birds forever. Love their different colors and the noises they make.
I teach art at our homeschool coop…..so this is a REALLY hard question b/c I get so excited about so many pieces of art! I do think John Singer Sargent’s “Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose” is enchanting and lovely.
Judith Martinez says
I love the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson. My Shadow is one of my favorites. I also really love the organ pieces by Bach.
Kyra McQuary says
My favorite piece of art is a turkey that my kiddo made me YEARS ago out of a pine cone and some feathers and clay, etc.
I love nature collecting and live theatre. Love your blog!
Salina Fedrick says
I love bird watching and learning about birds.
Jenny Markgraf says
I love taking nature walks with the kids… love it even more when its nice & quiet
Kimberly S. says
I just love anything and everything in nature! Being outside is my favorite!
Amy C says
Right now, my favorite painting is The Ballet Class by Edgar Degas and for classical music I have always loved Pachelbel’s Cannon in D.
We love just about any kind of music!
Jenn Khurshid says
Music is a huge part of my life!
My favorite part of nature is sitting among the trees, listening to the birds call, and enjoying the peaceful feeling that it creates.
Nature is my favorite too!
My favorite piece of art is a picture my husband took of a waterfall.
Karen G says
“Starry Night” is my favorite, but I’m also a fan of Jasper Johns.
Karen G says
“Starry Night” is my favorite, but I’m also a fan of Jasper Johns.
Lindsey W. says
My favorite poetry collection is the Child’s Garden of Verses illustrated by Tasha Tudor. It’s so beautiful
Kyra Cook says
Our family enjoys plays and music, but we also love a good walk to see creation.
Tammy Cordery says
I love nature looking at all there is to see.
Kathy M. says
Asking for a single favorite is like asking me which child is my favorite!! I love so much about art, music, poetry… From Monet to Mozart…
Tracy H says
My family loves hiking and playing in the near by creeks. I love the peter and the wolf Cds
Our curriculum comes with classical CD’s plus an extra CD on the life and accomplishments of that composer. We have really enjoyed drawing or schooling while listening to the selected CD’s for the year.
I love nature – sitting on my front porch listening to the birds sing and soaking up the peacefulness!
I love so much, but nature is top on the list.
Emily S. says
The redwood tress in our yard are my favorite part of the nature that surrounds us.
Intisar Khanani says
How to even choose? I love Monet’s flowers, poems by T.S. Eliot and Rumi, the creek in our local park… so much beauty in the world!
Jenn Wolfe says
Dabbling in the Arts is new for our family but we love hiking and spending time outside.
Kelly M Barnett says
How lovely. We are working on bringing more of these things into our daily lives.
Darlene Hicks says
My son loves to sketch all the different animals he finds at the zoo and in nature and my daughter photographs them. It is amazing to see how God has blessed them each with different talents, but yet in such an awesome way that they work together to make beautiful art.
Terri Holbrook says
My family loves hiking! When we are out we bring sketchbooks and color pencils to draw during breaks or meal times. We also enjoy just sitting quietly and listening to the birds, insects, and wind. What a beautiful world our Creator made!
I used to live in the mountains when I was in high school, and my favorite place was this little stretch of forest a short walk from our house. It had burned and replenished last time we visited, and the burn had cleared away spaces to see the vistas of the San Bernardino valley 4,000 feet below. Beauty from the ashes.
Want to see pictures? http://texifornia.blogspot.com/2011/08/ten-on-tuesday-10-mountain-views.html
Brigitte Brorman says
What a beautiful combination of items. I’ll have to check all of them out. Thanks for your generosity!
Brigitte Brorman says
Forgot to mention the band in a box would be my favorite. I’ve been wanting to get this for my daughter for quite some time.
Anna L. says
I love the beauty of the creatures in tide pools.
Your basket rocks!
My favorite poet is Emily Dickinson and my favorite poem is Song of Myself by Walt Whitman.
Robin E. says
Right now my favorite piece of art is Flaming June by Sir Frederic Leighton. I bought a beautifully framed print of it about 20 years ago, but over the years with so many times moving, it ended up boxed and put away. This summer my husband was clearing out our large walk in closet and found the box and opened it, wondering what was in it. He hung it over our head board without even telling me. I had completely forgotten about it!
Linda LaDuke says
I love flowers.
Lorie S says
I love color! I am always amazed at the multitude of shades God included in the trees, grass, and plants, sky, and even dirt!
Sarah M. says
My favorite is God’s art in the sky–stargazing. I especially love sharing this experience with my kids! Most recently I took them to a field in the middle of the night to enjoy the meteor shower together.
My favorite music is the sound of a babbling brook.
April Sutkay says
My husband made a “nature trail” in our backyard. He cut a path through a little strip of woods we have at the back of our lot. Our girls (4 and 3) adore it and any visitors are instantly dragged out to explore on their nature trail. We hike and explore nature often, but their favorite part of nature is that trail they can call their very own that their daddy built just for them.
Amy Maze says
I don’t know that I can pick just one, but I have absolutely loved memorizing poems, studying nature, and learning to appreciate great art and music with my kids over the past 2 years. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!
My favorite piece of beauty right now is the children’s corner of the garden . . . a place we call “The Garden of Exploration.” My children are 4, 2, and 7 months, so the “garden” is really more of a digging spot than growing spot. But they come up with some grand adventures and creations out of their little plot of dirt. Quite beautiful to this mother!
We do lots of classical music here. I love Beethoven.
My favorite art piece is Dawn Dell Joyce-She nourishes.
Nancy Stegner says
We are doing a yearlong nature journal as our science this year and I’m excited. Hoping my kids will really learn to observe…
Angela Klein says
They all go hand in hand! But, if I had to choose, nature.
Amber Green says
My favorite is definitely nature! Particularly, the ocean. It is a sensory delight from the sand, the wind, the crashing waves, the sea life, the tide pools, the beautiful colors of the water, and just how it puts life into perspective. I live over 6 hours from the ocean but it is my favorite place to be.
Sally D says
My favorite piece of art is any of Claude Monet’s water lilies.
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Emily Copeland says
I’m a sunset girl… a blazing orange-pink sky is my favorite part of nature.
Kimberly R says
My favorite is nature. We recently just moved out of the city into the country and it is just so peaceful! Love all the wildlife and wildflowers!
Nature is my favorite, hands down. And within it, a clear night sky filled with twinkling stars and the summer creatures singing their praises (even the incessant whip-por-will!!)
My favorite nature trip is just sitting either in by my front window and watching the birds and animals go by or going out on my ramp for a little bit to watch all nature
Rudyard Kipling’s “The Power of the Dog” is one of my favorite poems because it is perfect and because it was the first poem that touched my boys’ hearts since homeschooling.
Angela Klenke says
Nature is my favorite, I am living in the southern states right now and I so miss the fall colors.
Becca W says
Some friends of ours are in France right now. They got to see the Mona Lisa in person. I am so jealous 🙂 I love all art, but that is one I really want to see!!!
Kate Johnston Tucker says
I love to listen to the simple piano scales while my daughters are warming up for their lessons. And, my favorite poet would be Mary Oliver. Her words and imagery just center my spirit.
Teri Knight says
Nature…that is definitely my favorite. I love the beauty all around us…the sky, the plants and tress, flowers, wildlife. The intricate artistry that you can see by a simple walk in the woods or stroll along the beach. Nothing like it.
My favorite place to be in nature is up in the mountains.
I can’t pick favorites! It’s whatever I’m around at the time, I think! I love paintings of people, but I’m not picky. I love music that paints a picture. I love the drawings my four year old makes me! 🙂
I love to listen to my daughter make up songs on the piano. We have also enjoyed painting Peg Dolls for pretend play. Thank you!
Rachel R says
Starry Night has long been my favorite painting. I really enjoy Handel’s music.
My littlest has been enjoying Peter and the Wolf lately and we’ve been getting in lots of hiking this summer. So great to be outdoors and let all the cares melt away!
One of my favorite classical pieces is Pachelbel’s Canon in D. As for poetry, I love how James Whitcomb Riley managed to capture colloquial dialect in so many of his poems. They’re spectacular!
Lori H says
I like being in my vegetable garden.
I love Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet! So beautiful!
I just love nature and any time I can be out in it, but especially trees. I love walking in the forest, tree art, and even just thinking about a beautiful old tree can calm me when I’m stressed.
My favorite nature is just being outside among God’s creation–flowers, plants, trees, etc.
Rebecca Xavier says
I love to listen to piano music.